Microsoft forecasts Hybrid Work Disruption

microsoft forecasts hybrid work disruption

Microsoft forecasts the Next Great Disruption as Hybrid Work

Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) ("Microsoft") today announced the findings from its first annual Work Trend Index. Titled "The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready?" the report uncovers seven hybrid work trends every business leader needs to know as we enter this new era of work. The report indicates that business leaders should resist the urge to see hybrid work as business as usual.

"The world is on the brink of a disruption as great as last year's sudden shift to remote work: the move to hybrid — a blended model where some employees return to the workplace and others continue to work from home," says Rosalind Quek, General Manager, Modern Workplace, Microsoft Asia. "Adapting to this new hybrid model will require rethinking of long-held assumptions. The choices you make today will impact your organization for years to come. It's a moment that requires clear vision and a growth mindset. These decisions will impact everything from how you shape culture, to how you attract and retain talent, to how you can better foster collaboration and innovation.".

The last year has fundamentally changed the nature of work and shows that we are on the cusp of workplace disruption. The study revealed the following trends among the workforce in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and Japan.

More likely to change professional paths: 47 percent of workers in Asia are likely to consider changing employers (versus the 41 percent global average) and 56 percent are likely to consider a career change (versus the 44 percent global average). In Japan, this number is much lower, with only 38% of workers likely to consider changing employers within the year.

More connected with co-workers: 35 percent of workers in Asia experienced decreased interactions with co-workers (versus the 40 percent global average).

More free to be their authentic selves: 55 percent of remote workers in Asia and 50 percent in Australia and New Zealand say they are more likely to be their authentic selves at work compared to last year (versus the 44 percent global average).

More productive but exhausted and stressed: While 63 percent of workers in Japan say their productivity levels have remained the same compared to last year (versus the 40 percent global average), 48 percent of workers are feeling exhausted (versus 39 percent global average) and 45 percent feeling stressed (versus the 42 percent global average).

More employers prioritize work-life balance: 61 percent of workers in Australia and New Zealand think that their employer cares about their work-life balance (versus the 50 percent global average).

People are more likely to move now they can work remotely: 50% of remote workers in Australia and New Zealand are likely to move to a new location because they can now work remotely (versus 46% globally).

To help organizations through the transition, the 2021 Work Trend Index outlines findings from a study of more than 30,000 people in 31 countries and analyses trillions of aggregate productivity and labor signals across Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn. It also includes perspectives from experts who have studied collaboration, social capital, and space design at work for decades.

Seven global hybrid work trends every business leader needs to know. One thing is abundantly clear: Microsoft is urging businesses to recognize that work is no longer bound to traditional notions of time and space when it comes to how, when, and where we work.

Flexible work is here to stay: 73 percent of workers surveyed want flexible remote work options to continue, while at the same time, 67 percent are craving more in-person time with their teams.

Leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call: Research shows that 61 percent of leaders say they are thriving right now – 23 percentage points higher than those without decision making power.

High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce: Fifty-four percent feel overworked. Thirty-nine percent feel exhausted. Australia and China were the only two countries where weekly meeting time didn't triple YOY.

Gen Z is at risk and will need to be re-energized: Sixty percent of this generation — those between the ages of 18 and 25 — say they are merely surviving or flat-out struggling.

Shrinking networks are endangering innovation: Aggregate trends across billions of Microsoft Teams meetings and Outlook emails show interactions with our broader networks diminished with the move to remote work

Authenticity will spur productivity and well-being: Coworkers leaned on each other in new ways to get through the last year. 1 in 6 (17 percent) has cried with a colleague, especially those in healthcare (23%), travel and tourism (21 percent), and education (20 percent).

Talent is everywhere in a hybrid work world: Nearly half (46 percent) of those surveyed are planning to move to a new location this year, indicating that people no longer have to leave their desk, house or community to expand their career opportunities.

WorkLab is a Microsoft digital publication devoted to illuminating the future of work, grounded in research and the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic. By bringing together science-based insight and thoughtful, compelling stories on how work is changing, WorkLab's mission is to start larger conversations about the future of work and help customers in the process.

Agora to Acquire Easemob

agora to acquire easemob

Agora, Inc. (NASDAQ: API) ("Agora" or the "Company"), a pioneer and leading platform for real-time engagement APIs, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Easemob, a leading provider of instant messaging APIs and customer engagement cloud services in China, in an all-cash transaction.

"We are empowering developers to bring real-time engagement to more and more online activities," said Tony Zhao, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Agora. "The primary ways for people to engage with others online are video, voice and messaging. We are the leader in video and voice, while Easemob is a leader in messaging. Easemob perfectly complements our product offerings and will accelerate the realization of our vision in making real-time engagement ubiquitous. We are thrilled to welcome Easemob to the Agora family." "Easemob is a company founded by developers and for developers," said Johnson Ma, Co-Founder and CEO of Easemob. "We have known Tony for a long time and are impressed by how persistently Agora has applied the same ‘developer first' philosophy. By joining forces, we believe that we will be able to provide developers with not only the most complete real-time engagement API portfolio on the market, but a truly seamless integration of video, voice and messaging to enable them to create unique user experiences with speed and agility." The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. There is no assurance that the transaction will be completed within the anticipated timeframe, or at all. Shareholders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on this announcement.

Founded in 2013, Easemob (also known as "Huanxin") is a leading provider of Instant Messaging (IM) APIs and customer engagement cloud services in China. Easemob's IM APIs allows developers to easily embed instant messaging into any application and have consistently ranked as the top IM APIs based on mobile penetration rates in China. Easemob's customer engagement cloud is a Software-as-a-Service product enabling businesses to engage with their users and customers through chat, calls or chatbot.

Agora's mission is to make real-time engagement ubiquitous, allowing everyone to interact with anyone, in any application, anytime and anywhere. Agora's platform provides developers simple, flexible and powerful application programming interfaces, or APIs, to embed real-time video and voice engagement experiences into their applications.

This press release contains ‘‘forward-looking statements'' within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical or current fact included in this press release are forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements regarding Agora's financial outlook, beliefs and expectations. Forward-looking statements include statements containing words such as "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "project," "will" and similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking statements. Among other things, the Financial Outlook in this announcement contain forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on Agora's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond the Company's control. Further information regarding these and other risks, uncertainties or factors is included in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, without limitation, the final prospectus related to the IPO filed with the SEC on June 26, 2020. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement, and Agora undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.

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Road to Financial Freedom

road to financial freedom

Most people fail to accept the financial situations they're in and instead blame situations or circumstances. They can't save money or plan their finances because there's never enough money to save. One thing you should know is that there will never be enough money to save. Even if you do get a salary increase or your dream job, it won't necessarily mean you'll have enough money to manage your finances and expenditure. If you have excuses now that prevent you from saving money for the future, chances are you will save even if you get more money.

The first step into being a good financial manager is accepting the situation you're in and taking responsibility. Nobody else can change your current financial situation but you. If your business is not working out or does not generate as much profit as you would want, you're the only one who can change that.

We may blame our employer or government for low wages or customers for not buying more, but the truth is it's never anyone's fault. Blaming others is delegating the responsibility of changing our lives and current financial situation to others, which, of course, won't help us in any way. That's the reason why accepting and taking responsibility is the first step of taking control back and gaining financial freedom.

The next step is evaluating the current situation and planning the way out of that situation. Maybe our expenditure does not match our earning, the best thing to do in that situation is to spend less than what you earn. Most people end up spending more than their earnings and get themselves deep into debt. The lucky ones who spend more than they earn without incurring debt simply don't remain with enough cash to save. Hence, they remain in the same situation year in year out. In order to achieve the goal of spending less, one has to make sure that they have more assets than flossets.

Assets are in terms of investments or businesses that, in turn, put money in your pocket rather than remove it. On the other hand, flossets remove the money from your pocket and reduce your finances. When flossets exceed your assets, you're surely headed to poverty or bankruptcy. As a matter of fact, people considered wealthy in the society have more assets than flossets, but what most people see are the flossets. One way of making sure of achieving financial freedom is by multiplying the resources and minimizing debt. The number one rule of debt that most people ignore is ‘do not borrow to consume rather borrow to increase assets.' However, only borrow when necessary since borrowing always take you a step backward.

Wealth creation is a process that requires individuals to make hard choices and have a bigger picture. It is a process because it requires you to have a vision, then acting on your ideas. That’s why investments are risky but profitable in the long run. Having the desire to make more money will not make you achieve financial success. You can only achieve your goals and financial freedom by trusting the process and beginning somewhere.

To achieve true financial freedom, one must take a critical look at their financial patterns. Be able to critically analyze your financial situation and ask yourself how you spend your active income. How much would you save if you don't go out on Friday nights? What expenses can you do without and instead save? Asking yourself such questions will determine how quickly you can start building wealth and achieve financial freedom.

The road to achieving financial freedom is not easy, but anyone can do it. Every dollar spent on income-generating assets is worth it. Also, cut out unnecessary expenditures and have a budget in place. Budgeting is an essential aspect that most people ignore and eventually fail to achieve financial freedom. Always use surplus income as a catalyst for wealth creation. Avoid spending money on flossets and instead purchase income-generating assets. Also, use the income from your assets to purchase more assets until you achieve financial independence. Use the resulting income streams to maintain financial independence.

Moreover, keep in mind that financial independence is the first step to achieving financial success and freedom. Financial success does not happen overnight and often takes years to achieve — the only way to make it by being patient and resilient.

Why Most Startups Typically Fail

why most startups typically fail

Startups are entrepreneurial ventures at the early stages of operations seeking to effectively develop and solve a real-life problem with an innovative product or service. However, most startups end up collapsing at early stages without a chance to validate scalable business models. Sometimes though, they evolve from the idea stage to the product development stage but fail to penetrate the market with the product, and they eventually collapse. Most startups fail because of mistakes they make at the early stages of product development. Here are a few of the most common reasons that lead to startup failure.

Lack of market demand for the product

Most startups fail because the founders and the entire startup team fail to conduct a market research to find out if their product/service will be sellable in the market. Hence, they take most of their time in product development, and by the time the product is ready, it becomes too late to conduct market research. The common mistake that most startup founders make is thinking that their invention will be so appealing to the target market without even doing a market research. It is much wiser to take time and validate the product in pilot projects or beta testing before launching it to the market. This will prevent a market rejection risk and significantly reduce failure at the end of product development.

Ignorance of the real problems people face

Beta testing allows startup founders to find out the 'real' problem that people face and if their product will solve that or not. Also, startups should be ready to take in both negative and positive feedback to grow. Hence, whenever a startup faces market rejection in the early stages, it can re-invent and provide solutions that work for the target market. It is much easier to deal with market rejection at the early stages of product development than at later stages. Knowing the real problem that the target market faces allows the startup to incorporate changes in the product before the final release.

A weak or unbalanced team

A weak team doesn't necessarily mean that the team is ineffective or cannot carry its duties efficiently. Instead, it means a team consisting of professional experts of the same school of thought. Let's say the startup has five people, and all of them are developers. Even though they might be trying to solve a real-life problem through the use of technology by creating an app or website, the team is unbalanced. A good startup team should consist of people with different skills, and this will boost the odds of success for the startup. A team of people with different skills will give the startup business an upper hand against its competitors. Since the team will be able to complement each other and get the company going.

A good team should comprise of not less than five members. There at least five key areas and skills needed to make the team complete or balanced. A good team must have a good manager/leader, a marketing guru, an efficient product developer, a salesperson, and a good accountant. In the initial phase or early stages that may seem to be the complete team, but once the startup develops, there will be need to add more skilled personnel to the team.

If the startup manages to develop a scalable business model and begins its operation as a small company, the number of team members must grow too. To compete effectively with other existing companies, there will be need to look for a legal representative and human resource manager. Startups that have and maintain a balanced team have a good success rate compared to startups with a poorly organized team.

Failure to raise adequate capital

Funding is one issue that most startups attribute their failure to. In fact, in a recent conducted survey, 24% of startups admitted to failing due to running out of cash to sustain their businesses. While other startups struggle to stay in the market and get adequate funding. Even a startup with the best idea in town and a successful business model can collapse without proper cash flow. The most reliable ways of funding a startup take some time since investors need to be sure their investment won't be swindled. As a result, startups need to make sure there's a market need for their product and have a detailed business plan to present to investors. Other means of securing funding include crowdfunding and taking small business loans. The latter is very risky, especially for a startup, and should be avoided at all means.